Born of Fire and Water
The Necessity of Queer Inclusion (Pesach Sheini 5779)

Avi Strausberg

Rabbi Akiva was in awe of salamanders.  Rabbi Akiva, along with other rabbis of his time, believed that salamanders were born of fire.  And so, whenever Rabbi Akiva would arrive at the laws of Kashrut in the Book of Leviticus that discussed the purity and impurity of such creepy crawlers as lizards and salamanders, Rabbi Akiva would exclaim, “How great are Your works, O Lord" (Talmud Bavli Hullin 127a).

In 2010, the Orthodox Israeli feminist organization Kolech, and Bat-Kol, the organization of religious lesbians, proclaimed Pesah Sheini as a day of inclusion for all.  Today, it continues to be celebrated as an annual event to promote religious tolerance and inclusion of LGBTQ people in religious society.

Born of Fire and Water: The Necessity of Queer Inclusion
(audio/mpeg, 5.89MB)

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